Beltane 2018 Group Info

We’re very excited to share with you the details for our Beltane Fire Festival 2018 groups! You will be able to sign up to one at our Open Meeting, which takes place on Saturday 24th February 2-5pm in Lauriston Hall.

When you initially sign up to one of our groups, whether by email or at the Open Meeting, we will collect your name and email address so our Group Organisers can keep in touch with updates directly related to your voluntary engagement. We will not use your information for any other purpose without first asking for your consent and we will not share your email with external organisations.

More information about the Open Meeting can be found here.

Have a read through the descriptions, requirements, and rehearsal times below before this weekend to see which group you think you would fit best into.


Email aerie[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Jay Wiwezar and Sarah Barr

Messengers of hope, Heralds of Summer, we fly and sing to announce the arrival of the May Queen and the Green Man on Calton Hill.

Birds – ever-present, cosmopolitan bringers of colour and music! We are fed and nourished by the fruits of the elements that fill our bellies, by the rhythms that fill our souls, by the grace and chaos that fill our hearts. This year, the Aerie will spread joy and thanks across the Hill, telling all spirits about the coming of the May Queen.

We are a high commitment, but also beginner friendly performance group that will focus its efforts into blending music and dance in order to weave a narrative based on renewal and gratitude. We will also craft our own wings and our own masks, an essential part of our identity, to bring colours to all corners of the Hill.

We are looking for group members with a keen interest in dramatic performance, be it musical or physical. We’re at heart a very welcoming group and a great place where newcomers can learn, especially if they’re enthusiastic and have a good sense of musicality.

Our Open Practices will be on:

  • The 25th of February on Calton Hill (near the Cannon and Nelson Monument) from 2pm to 5pm,
  • The 1st of March, in St Margaret’s House on London Road (in The Drawing Room) from 8pm to 10pm,
  • And the 4th of March on Calton Hill (near the Cannon again) from 2pm to 5pm.

Our Weekend Away will be on Easter Weekend (31st of March and 1st of April).


This group is now closed.

Email beasties[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Lindsey Bell, Siri Pantzar, and Kirsty Jones

The Beastie Drummers are the throbbing heart of exhilarating chaos, joy and passion!  In celebration of new life and summer we play dirty, danceable, primal beats that connect us to each other, ourselves, the present moment and the hill as a whole. We are irrepressible. We are free. We will make you MOVE!

We will explore and develop our Beastie characters together, casting away the shackles of social shame and propriety while reconnecting with our physical forms and senses. We also share a bond with the Reds and will work closely with them in the build up to Beltane Night.

We are looking for volunteers who are keen to learn to let go of restraint, dive in and push their boundaries.  We are a high commitment, high intensity group. We welcome both experienced drummers and those who have not drummed before but have a strong drive to learn new rhythms to a performance standard. A strong work ethic and willingness to concentrate and do some homework are essential.

Our open rehearsals will be on:

  • Sunday 25th February 2-5pm (Coloursound)
  • Thursday 1st March 7-10pm (Bongo Club),
  • Sunday 4th March 2-5pm   (Coloursound)

Our regular rehearsals will be:

  • Sundays 4-7pm (with the option to start earlier some weeks),
  • Wednesdays 7-10pm at the Bongo Club.

(except our first closed practice: Thursday 8th March)

Compulsory weekend away: Friday 30th March – Sunday 1st April


Organisers Emma May, Lizzy Treacy, and Mike Turner

More details to come


This group is now closed.

Email bower[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Eva Murzyn and Daniel Tysen

Bower is home to which we all return. It is Beltane’s place of safe haven on the hill, at the end of all our journeys. However, through the winter our fire has gone out, and the bowerlings have become lost. On the night, we must return from being empty wraiths to being our own wonderful selves. We will recognise each other and meet other groups, and thus learn to be bowerlings once more: creative, eclectic, playful, generous, and ready for the most wonderful celebration at the night’s end.

We will be telling our story through different methods of body movement, theatre and music, with each bowerling growing into an individual with their own performance style. As we are a stationary group, we will create our own space on the hill by decorating and building structures.

We are looking for new and experienced Beltaners alike – ready to bring a creative spirit and a diversity of skills or willingness to explore new skills.

Our open rehearsals will be on Thursday 7-9pm at the Canon’s Gait and on Saturday at 1-3pm at Holyrood Green.

Our regular rehearsals will be every Sunday in various locations. We will have both indoor and outdoor rehearsals.


This group is now closed.

Email convergence[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Lewis Hartley and Mairi Elise McKay

We are a group of drummers who come together to share our ancient understanding of the mysteries and motions of the Earth and the Sun. Our rhythms reflect the complexities of the world we know: the thundering power of earthquakes, the intricacies of starlit skies and the perfect, improbable convergence of all the aspects of our universe which allow us to exist. Eager anticipation of Summer drives our rhythms, but we bring with us a recognition and memory of all of the world’s past cycles and seasons, and an appreciation for their continuation in times to come.

We are looking for enthusiastic, dedicated group members with a good sense of rhythm and a desire to learn and push their drumming abilities. We will be playing bass drums, kit snares and high tension snares.

Our open rehearsals will be at Coloursound (Clifton Terrace, Haymarket), which everyone is welcome to come to. These rehearsals will take place on Sunday 25th February 6-9pm, Wednesday 28th February 7-10pm and Sunday 4th March 6-9pm. We will ask for donations to cover the cost of the venue for the open rehearsals. You can pay what you want, but we suggest £3 per session.

Our regular rehearsals will be on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons. We will have a compulsory group Weekend Away from the evening of Friday 6th April to Sunday 8th.


This group is now closed.

Email earthpoint[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Jenny Bloom, Karen Dickson, and Elspeth Thomson

We are a small, low-intensity group, welcoming the growing and nourishing properties of Earth in the springtime. We’ll be farming a little spot on the hill, but our main focus will be wandering in small groups to start meaningful conversations with audience members about the turning seasons, the many stories of the festival, and the experience of being human in spring.

In the preceding weeks, we will grow as many seedlings as possible, to be gifted as mementos of an important and precious night. We’ll also have nature walks, crafting sessions, bucketloads of tea and garden shed chat to help us get into connection with Earth and growing things. We’ll also work on confidence, storytelling, and character. We’ll explore the inner child to dance, play, and sense the wonder of the earth, enjoying it’s vibrant rebirth.

We are a low physical-commitment group, realistic about participants’ real life commitments. As such, members need to be motivated in order to do costuming, seedling care etc at home, fitted around their lives. Our group will be small enough to arrange meets flexibly, and our optional away weekend will be local and indoor. BFS requires at least one walkthrough attendance and one H&S briefing, everything else is negotiable.

We are especially keen to hear from people whose work or childcare situation exclude them from other groups. Our activities will be child-friendly as much as possible.


This group is now closed.

Email faerieporters[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Electra Tzini and Giulia Frontalini

The Faerie Porters were created by Dr Neil Rhind a few festivals ago based on a ‘ritually significant’ detail found in Robert Kirk’s 17th century book The Secret Commonwealth. In this treatise on fairy folklore, witchcraft, ghosts, and second sight, faeries are said to move houses on the quarter days such as Beltane and Samhuinn. The role of Faerie Porters has therefore always been to create a ritual connection among the event spaces of Beltane Fire Society, the festivals, and the seasons.

Our main focus as a group will be the weaving of a physical and spiritual journey within which character work, body movement, ritual, and craftwork shall give life to new adventures via routes of constructive absurdism and portering!

We are looking for people with musical and dance skills, though our extravagant missions, which have traditionally been very inclusive, are open to all individuals interested in merrymaking and expressing their wackiness in a creative and peculiar fashion.

Our regular rehearsals will be on Wednesdays and Sundays. We are a medium commitment group which may become high in the final few days.


Email elsewhere[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Kenn Musso and Lisette Boxman

More details to come


This group is now closed.

Email firepoint[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Dex de Cruz and Jordan Phillips

We are the living embodiment of fire. we represent the transformation of embers into raging fire, with explosive dance and tribal drumming beats we will conjure up images of Beltane past, present and future. our performance will involve slowly building up a shamanistic ritual flame from our dancers before flying loose around the hill as free fire spirits! (Remember we are not a fire spinning group and all our flame is conceptual costume and interpretive (sorry)(not sorry)).
We are looking for people who are enthusiastic, creative and passionate, willing to let loose and let their inner fire burn bright. No previous drum or dance experience needed but this would be an asset.
Our open rehearsals will be 7–9 pm on Thursday 1st March at Calton Hill – meet by the Cannon, and 2-5pm on Sunday 4th March on Calton Hill (meet by the Cannon).
Our regular rehearsals will be two hours on Thursday evenings and three hours on Sunday afternoons, with additional sessions as the festival draws closer. We are a fairly high commitment group. Our weekend away will be 6-8th of April in North Berwick.


Email guthnambeo[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Adam Dahmer, Tamsyn Ball, and Simone Mckenzie

Otherworldly beings inspired by Gaelic folklore, we have travelled to the human world to celebrate the union of the May Queen and the Green Man and the coming of Summer, and we want to invite everyone to celebrate with us! We will be roaming around the Hill, singing Gaelic songs relating to the elements and various aspects of the festival. We will be colourful, jubilant and very much alive!

While we are primarily a Gaelic song group, we will also be doing some ceilidh dancing as well as costuming, character work, audience interaction… and maybe setting some things on fire.

We are looking for people who are enthusiastic and willing to learn— you don’t need to speak Gaelic to join us, or have a beautiful voice. We welcome those new to Beltane as well as seasoned performers.

Our open rehearsals will be 7–9 pm on Thursday 1st March at the Old Medical School, Teviot Place, 3–5 pm on Saturday 3rd March at the Pavilion Café in the Meadows, and 7–9 pm on Thursday 8th March at the Old Medical School.

Our regular rehearsals will be two hours on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, with additional sessions on Monday evenings as the festival draws closer. We are a fairly high commitment group. Our weekend away will be 23rd–25th March.

Bidh fàilte air uile!


This group is now closed.

Email photopoint[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Neil Barton and Martin McCarthy

Photo Point create a high quality, permanent record of the festival and the preparations leading up to it through photography and video. Our role is to help promote the Society, spread the joy of Beltane through our work, and provide seemingly endless material for Facebook profile pictures.

We will hold photography workshops specifically aimed at preparing our members for photographing the festival. We photograph preparations leading up to the festival as well as the festival itself.

We are looking for group members with their own photography and/or video equipment, who can be committed to attending as many or our group events and photo shoots over the next two months as possible. For still photographers we accept all skill levels—complete beginners, skilled amateurs and seasoned pros—and can teach the necessary skills; however videographers will need to be competent at video editing and at using their equipment in low-light conditions.

We will be meeting on Sunday afternoons & Wednesday evenings. Other days may be necessary when we’re requested to photograph other group rehearsals.


This group is now closed.

Email processionals[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Nahikari Mendoza and Cam Ginty

On Beltane Night, when our first beat sounds on the Acropolis, the whole Hill begins to awaken. We are the Big Bang, the catalyst for the entire community, the heartbeat of the procession. We are an all-encompassing energetic consciousness holding all of the energy of the Hill and harnessing it in high-vibrational, single-pointed focus: the amalgamation of everything occurs the moment we drum.

We are looking for people who want to have fun and explore what happens when you embrace all the different energies the world has to offer, and incorporate it into a place of focused stillness. We are a high commitment group, and want people who are prepared to put work into learning new drum rhythms to performance standard. Drumming experience recommended but not a requirement – all we ask is that you work hard and practice at home.

Our open practices will be on Monday 26th February, Thursday 1st March and Monday 5th March 7 – 10pm at the Bongo Club on Cowgate.

Our regular rehearsals will be every Wednesday 7 – 10pm and every Sunday 3 – 7pm. All members must be able to make our camping weekend away on Friday 30th March – Sunday 1st April.


This group is now closed.

Email beltanereds[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Alun Patrick Ryder Evans and Simon Ossenkoppele-Brain

Reds are born bloody and screaming, again and again.

Drawn from the same energy as the Green Man, Reds bubble with chaos.

They are intense, playful, curious, and strong.

Emerging at the first sound of drums on Beltane night, the Reds are struck by transformative realisations on their journey around the hill.

In the Whites they find a contrast of energy, a swirling, dancing search for balance.

We are looking for anyone willing to learn new skills, challenge themselves, and discover their Red. Reds are a high commitment group, embarking on two months of physical conditioning, acrobalance, and pushing of limits.

Our open sessions will be on Wednesday 28th February 7-10pm and Saturday 3rd March 1-6pm, meeting on the meadows at “Red point” – the northern area between Middle Meadow walk and Jawbone walk.

Our regular rehearsals will be Wednesdays 7-10pm, and Sundays 1-6pm. Additional optional and extended practices and training sessions are likely. Availability for a weekend away 30th March-1st April is also essential.


Email nightwatchtorchbearers[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Jak Hyslop, Gudrun Kocher-Oberlehner, and Nico Marrone

Stewards are the first point of contact for the public on the night of Beltane. We work closely with the emergency services, Tech, the Production team, and other performance groups to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Beltane. Stewards are not a performance group, however we will be interacting with the audience heavily on the night, answering any questions that they may have and explaining the significance of the celebrations.

We are looking for people of all experience levels who may not have have vast amounts of time to dedicate to the festival this year. This is also a great introduction to Beltane for new, unacquainted members.

Our meetings will be held on Sundays, 1-3:30 on Calton Hill, however the location and time may change if we need to practice with other groups in the build up to the festival. We will be practicing with the Torchbearers in order to bolster teamwork and build confidence in holding spaces, as well as gaining fire safety training.


Email volunteers[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers to be confirmed

Tech are the stage crew of Beltane.

In the run up to Beltane we build fire sculptures and props for groups, preparing everything to be taken to the Hill. In the days immediately before and on the day, we prepare Calton Hill for the festival – building stages and decorating the hill, as well as setting up the fencing, crowd barriers, toilets and lighting. During the event, as well as looking after the safety of our audience and performers, we run the neid fire to the key points, making sure all the performers have the light and toys they need and maybe even fire some pyrotechnics. At the end of the event and on the day after we take it all down again.

Who we are looking for: Tech is quite a lot of work – but fun and rewarding at the same time. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this sort of thing before, if you bring a willing pair of hands we’ll promise to keep you fed / watered and show you all that needs to be done!


Email nightwatchtorchbearers[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Jak Hyslop, Gudrun Kocher-Oberlehner, and Nico Marrone

Torchbearers light the way. We are the keepers of the ritualistic fire, igniting the sacred Neid fire on the night of Beltane and using its light to escort the May Queen and her procession on their journey. We illuminate the procession and the audience alike, acting as the liminal barrier between worlds, allowing those on the outside to peer in and vice versa.

We are looking for people with all levels of experience; be you a newcomer to Beltane or a seasoned veteran, we will teach you everything there is to know about being a torchie. Torchbearers are a low commitment group and is a great way to get acquainted with the festival.

We will meet Sundays on Calton Hill 1-3:30 with stewards, and on Wednesdays 7-9 with the venue TBC, however Wednesday meetings will likely move to also be on Calton Hill as the night of Beltane approaches.


This group is now closed.

Email whites[at]beltane[dot]org

Organisers Colin McEwan, Lu Kocaurek and Hannah Smith

Whites are extensions of the May Queen’s will, helping Her draw energies from the Elements and the community, and weaving it together as the seasons turn. We utilise our close connection and unified power to support the May Queen on Her journey, joining Her in the Procession around the Hill. As the balance and opposite energy to the Reds, we are a core Beltane group and intimately involved in the Green Man’s death and rebirth. At the Bonfire and Bower, we express our individuality and the experiences we gained during the journey, celebrating with the Reds in joyful dance. We are a movement-based group, incorporating new moves along with traditional ones from previous festivals.

We are looking for enthusiastic volunteers willing to take a journey with us both personally and in performance. Whites is a high-commitment, high energy group. We expect members to make most of the rehearsals and our Away Weekend is mandatory. We will try to make allowances for accessibility needs, but members must be able to fulfil the physical demands of following the procession for 3 hours. If you have specific accessibility concerns, please talk with us for more information.

Our open practices will be on Sunday 25th February 1-3pm Calton Hill, Wednesday 28th February 7-10pm, Meadows, Saturday 3rd March 2-5pm Calton Hill.

Our regular rehearsals will be Wednesdays 7-10pm and Sundays 2-6pm.

We will have a mandatory weekend away, Friday 30th March-Sunday 1st April.